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Bridging the Digital Divide in Supply Chain (Part 1)

By Josh Collins | January 7, 2019

In supply chain and logistics, there are a few companies that clearly rise above the rest when it comes to digital maturity—the most notable Goliath is Amazon, which is blazing the trail for others.

For the majority of supply chain professionals, however, the reality is that there’s a general lack of appetite for digital technologies. The focus is typically on process and physical objects or logistics, rather than software and applications—leading to a wide chasm between the digital innovators and those that rely on the more traditional approaches.

With a goal of learning about the attitudes and progress towards digital technologies and digital transformation within supply chain and logistics, we surveyed 95 middle- and senior-level managers in the industry. In this three-part series, we’ll explore these findings to dissect the current state of innovation in supply chain as well as look at what the findings could mean for the future of the industry.

An Industry Lacking in Digital Technologies

We began by asking respondents whether they’d rate their company’s digital maturity as ahead of the curve, behind the curve, or somewhere in between. Much to our surprise, most respondents had conservative answers. Nearly a third (29.6%) recognized they were lagging and 55.1% believed they were average—leaving only 15.3% who were confident in their market leadership to implement digital technologies.

30% SAY THEIR COMPANY IS LAGGING IN DIGITAL MATURITY.

Supply chain isn’t a naturally digital business. As a result, in our work with companies across a range of horizontal and vertical industries, we’ve found that it’s easy for supply chain and logistics companies to fall behind the curve in comparison to other industries. Historically, the core industry aptitude has been around concrete and physical objects—such as packages and vehicles—rather than digital technology.

Beginning the Path to Digital Maturity

When it comes to implementing new digital technologies, there’s a big divide between supply chain and logistics professionals. The largest group (50%) reported they aren’t implementing any new technologies. Considering that 84.7% also believe they’re average to behind the curve (as mentioned earlier), this indicates a strong resistance to change. Moreover, only 1 in 5 of those reporting their companies aren’t implementing new technologies believe this stagnation is the wrong move.

50% ARE NOT WORKING TO IMPLEMENT NEW TECHNOLOGY.

On the other end is the 36.7% that said their companies are looking to implement new technologies. And two-thirds (69.4%) of those companies looking to implement new technologies reported their organization has already began its path to digital transformation.

These findings are consistent with what we’ve seen working with supply chain and logistics professionals. Companies often delay change, but once they get started, they’ll quickly make steps along the path to digital maturity. The first step is always the hardest—but there are plenty opportunities for innovation once it is made.

To learn more about our findings, download the complete, 12-page report or check back soon for part two of our three-part “Bridging the Digital Divide in Supply Chain” blog post series.

Our team is always prepared to discuss your digital transformation goals and obstacles. Drop us a line and let us help you get you started on your journey.

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